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Community – Private Sector Partnership SULEDO Forest

The SULEDO Forest in Kiteto District is shared between nine villages, covering an area of 167,400 hectares, some of which are considered grazing land with significant tree cover. This area of dry miombo woodland has been under community management since the mid-1990s.

The Villages have full ownership of the land (Land Title Deeds) and have prepared and submitted Land Use Plans. In the Land Use Plans the nine Villages have set aside a Forest Reserve that covers about 55,000 ha. An inventory was carried out in the late nineties and revealed high levels of commercially viable miombo species such as Mpingo (Dalbergia Melaloxylon), Mninga (Pterocarpus angolensis) and Mkalakala (Brachystegia spp) as well as sandalwood. The application for gazettment of the Forest Reserve is being processed at the Ministry for Natural Resources.

The commercial exploitation of the forest resource has however not taken off, as the community lacks resources and management capacity for sustainable harvesting and lack access to the more profitable export market for timber.

A possible solution, that is gaining momentum in the developing world, is partnership between communities and private companies in the sustainable utilization and management of the forest resource. Such partnerships can help solve some of the capacity constraints that face rural communities and provide access to the more profitable international timber markets. The partnership can also bring the much-needed cash to the village institutions to help them better tackle their problems. Village capacity constraints, such as poor transparency and weak institutions, will have to be tackled jointly by the villages, company and other stakeholders to make the community realise the full benefit of this opportunity.

This consultancy aimed at developing a proposal for the SULEDO villages concerning sustainable timber utilization and outlines a proposal for a tendering process and a social responsibility agreement.

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